Switching banks? Consider a credit union

Switching banks? Consider a credit union »Play Video
Need a resolution for the new year?

For some people it will be to their finances in order. That can range from balancing your checkbook to finding a new bank.

If you're looking for a better place to keep your money, maybe you should consider a credit union.

Credit unions are nonprofit. They're run to benefit the members. That means their fees are lower and interest rates are more attractive. But I'll let you look at the numbers, which were by the Datatrac corporation.

The average savings account at a credit union will yield you about 0.41 percent. At a bank, you get less than 0.3 percent on average.

On a one-year CD, a credit union will give you 1.45 percent, while a bank is at 1.15 percent.

And finally, let's look at mortgage rates. Those are pretty much neck and neck, with the bank interest rate just a bit lower than the credit union.

Credit union credit cards are generally a better bet, too. Take a look at this study from the Pew Charitable Trust.

Interest rates on credit union credit cards are 20 percent lower than bank cards. That's a significant difference. Over-limit fees are $19 lower than at banks -- a big savings. And the average penalty interest rate is also much lower -- 18 percent at credit unions versus 29 percent at banks.

Keep in mind, this isn't a perfect world. A credit union, just like a bank, can fail. So far this year, 23 credit unions across the country have.

But most credit unions didn't get involved in those risky investments that clobbered the nation's banks.

If you decided to join a credit union, make sure it's insured by the National Credit Union Administration. That's the equivalent of the FDIC. Your money is insured up to the same limits as with a traditional bank.